We’re happy to let you all know that Cate, Brownstoner’s fearless managing editor, had a baby over the weekend and will be on the sidelines for the next month or so. In her stead, Jim Rendon will be in the driver’s seat. Jim’s a freelance journalist who has covered real estate for The New York Times, The Times real estate magazine, Key, and SmartMoney. He’s also written about a broad range of topics including architecture and design for Dwell, Metropolis and other magazines. He’s a long time Brownstoner reader and occasional commenter. He and his wife started renovating their Bed-Stuy brownstone at the end of 2005 and still think that they may actually finish one day. Please join us in congratulating Cate and welcoming Jim to the Brownstoner family.
We’re very pleased to announce that Cate Corcoran is starting today as Managing Editor at Brownstoner. In addition to having been an active member of the Brownstoner community for years, Cate has written about technology, fashion, culture, and business for such publications as The New York Times Magazine, Women’s Wear Daily, Salon, and The Wall Street Journal. She taught a class on social media at New York University, and has worked as a cool hunter identifying trends on the street in New York for Outlaw Consulting. She moved to Brooklyn in 2001, where she is restoring an 1890s wood frame house. Welcome!
Reclaimed Home, a long-time Brooklyn-based blog devoted to architectural salvage and adaptive reuse, was doing some house-cleaning on its blog roll (an old-school concept in itself at this point) and noticed how many Brooklyn blogs have called it quits in the last couple of years. Since we’ve been doing this now for, gulp, more than seven years the round-up made us feel both old and sentimental, common emotions at this time of year. The list of those who’ve packed it in include Bushwick BK (October 2011), Brooklyn Born (August 2011), Bed Stuy Blog (June 2011), Here Be Old Things (February 2011), Bed Stuy Banana (December 2009), Crown Heightser (August 2010), Clinton Hill Blog (July 2010) and Brooklyn Optimist (January 2010). And, of course, the saddest of them all, was the end of Gowanus Lounge, when its creator Bob Guskind died tragically in March 2009. RIP.
Seven years ago last week, we launched Brownstoner. Google’s long since erased the first three months of content from when the site was at brownstoner.blogspot.com, but at least we’ve still got this post that Max at Apartment Therapy put up a few days into things. (Curbed also gave us a nice little nudge at the time.) By January of 2005, we’d moved the site to its current stand-alone location and gone completely down the blogging rabbit hole. It’s funny where life takes you!
William F. Hendrickson, a V.P. at Elliman, has launched a blog called Insight on Brooklyn Real Estate. There’s a post so far examining sales prices at the Isabella condo, as shown in the chart above, and one that looks into the big differences in rental prices for One Hanson units. But is this one worth bookmarking or adding to the ol’ RSS? Perhaps, since it’s already working an angle on Brooklyn’s hot-button issue of the moment, neighborhood names. The Isabella post says the condo “has become a must see in the Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, ClinPro area.” ProCro: So last month. Insight on Brooklyn Real Estate [Official Site]
Over on Atlantic Yards Report this morning, in a post called Blogfest Meets Shillfest, Norman Oder reports on last night’s Brooklyn Blogfest at the Brooklyn Lyceum, an event we were boycotting on principle. In its first couple of years, though rather disorganized, the motley gathering had some charm to it. Based on Oder’s report, though, it sounds like it’s run its course. We decided weeks ago not to attend, because it was becoming clear to us that that the event’s organizer and some of the other participating bloggers had completely sold out to the evening’s sponsor, Absolut, which was using the blogfest to launch its new Spike Lee-branded line of vodka. (From AYR: “I’m not going to get into gentrification, but goddamn,” [Lee] said, musing about “white linen tables” on Lafayette and DeKalb avenues. Then he corrected himself: “This is to celebrate Absolut, so we’re not going to get into gentrification tonight. Sorry, Absolut.”) An email we received a few weeks ago (posted in full on the jump) described a program whereby bloggers would be given a Flip video camera and some other Absolut swag in return for blogging and tweeting about the new brand of vodka. A number have done so and we’ve yet to see a single instance of disclosure; nor has the event’s organizer, Louise Crawford of Only The Blog Knows Brooklyn, been forthcoming about the backroom deals. (Here‘s where she should have mentioned the payola deal.) This wasn’t just a matter of a company donating some booze and getting to hang their banner in return; there’s nothing underhanded about that. It was a full-fledged sell-out with paid-for but undisclosed editorial pimping. We’re certainly in favor of bloggers finding innovative ways to get compensated for all the hard work it takes to maintain a blog, but in order to maintain any credibility they need to be transparent about who’s buttering their bread; readers can be a pretty understanding bunch as long as they believe you’re being straight with them. Based on the play-by-play on Atlantic Yards Report, the night ended up being much more about promoting Absolut than about blogging. Here’s how Sunset Park Chronicle described it in a tweet: “brooklyn blogfest–the creative unite…or become captive audience for spike lee’s absolute vodka fest. Weird.” And here’s another disgusted tweet. Norman Oder has posted a question to Crawford on the New York Times, where’s she’s featured this week in a piece called “Ask The Brooklyn Blogger.” It’ll be interesting to see how she responds. Update: Louise Crawford has published a post addressing the Absolut sponsorship issue. Like a few others in this thread, she is either misconstruing or purposefully obfuscating the core of our criticism: We’re not against sponsorship or advertising (obviously, given that it’s how we make our living), but we are against promotional blog posts and tweets for remuneration that are not identified as such.(more…)
Big news around Brownstoner HQ: After many months of planning, Brownstoner Philadelphia launches this morning. With its incredible architectural history and passionate residents, Philly has the two key ingredients for a successful Brownstoner community. With Gabby Warshawer, a three-year veteran of Brownstoner Brooklyn, at the helm and a handful of local contributors in place, we hope to do exciting things in the City of Brotherly Love. We urge you to check out the site and, please, take a minute to shoot an email to your friends and family in the area.
In related news, you may notice that things look a little different around here. With the help of the crack team at Six Apart, we’re pleased to debut an updated look for Brownstoner. Not too much has changed: The headlines are a little bigger, we’ve added some shortcuts for spreading stories via Twitter and Facebook, and we’ve tried to bring the neighborhood archives into greater prominence.
In the future, we hope to start having some overlap between the Philly and Brooklyn sites where appropriate. Most importantly, we plan to introduce a shared Forum, where posts that are not geographically specific can share feedback. At some point, the renovation blogs may be co-mingled too.
We look forward to your feedback on both sites. Please kick the tires and let us know if you see any problems. Thanks for playing.
Our long-awaited new t-shirt design just arrived from the printer. They are going to be available this Sunday at The Flea from 12:30-2 at the main information booth right when you walk in. They’re American Apparel so they run a little on the small side but they are great quality. They’ll be $15 a pop, and we have all adult sizes and some kids sizes as well. Hope to see you Sunday.
Just a reminder that we started an email service this week that delivers the day’s headlines to your inbox every afternoon. Whether you’re a regular reader or an infrequent visitor, it’s a good way to make sure you don’t miss anything. You can sign up above or by clicking here.
Sharp-eyed readers may have notice the appearance of a sign-up box for a daily email in the upper right corner of the page in the last day. That’s because we’ve just launched a Daily email alert for readers who want to make sure they don’t miss anything. It’s pretty simple: Towards the end of the afternoon every day, you’ll receive an email with the day’s headlines that you can click if you want to read the full post. Hopefully some time soon we’ll add weekly email summaries by neighborhood.